Buried in the ‘Burbs – Rediscovering ‘Diary of the Dead’ (US 1976 – 93 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - Jul 21, 2014

An excellent PG-rated potboiler with a first-rate cast, ‘Diary of the Dead’ is a delicious slice of urban chaos, based on Ruth Rendell’s 1971 novel ‘One Across, Two Down’.

Crossword loving Stan (Héctor Elizondo) is 39, out of work, and lives with his wife and her domineering mother, Maud (Geraldine Fitzgerald). Struggling to make ends meet, Stan devises a plan to get his hands on Maud’s fortune. He switches her pills with sugar substitutes, in the hope of causing her a fatal stroke. Things go awry however when Maud collapses and dies during a heated argument with Stan. Covering up the …

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“The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips” – Mae Murray (1885 – 1965)

Posted in Rewind by - Jul 18, 2014

“We were like dragonflies. We seemed to be suspended effortlessly in the air, but in reality, our wings were beating very, very fast.” – Mae Murray

A talented dancer and exotic beauty, Mae Murray is one of Hollywood’s best known names of the silent era. Today though, for those that do remember her, it is more so for her personal life than her movie output.

Born Marie Koenig on May 10th 1889, Mae dreamed of being a dancer from childhood, and by 17 she was on Broadway as a chorus girl, and later joined the “Ziegfeld Follies” chorus line before progressing onto …

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Stage Fright – Rediscovering ‘The Killer Reserved Nine Seats’ (Italy 1974 – 99 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - Jul 16, 2014

One of the better Italian giallo’s from the mid 70’s’, ‘The Killer Reserved Nine Seats’ (L’assassino ha riservato nove poltrone) has a simple plot enlivened by a decent cast in an impressive setting, where incest, ancient curses and of course murder, soon rears its head.

One night nine people are invited to an old opera house owned by the Davenant family. The group is headed by the wealthy Patrick Davenant (Chris Avram), his fiancé Kim (Janet Agren), his red haired daughter Lynn (Paola Senatore) and her boyfriend Duncan (Gaetano Russo). Also invited are Patrick’s former flame Vivian (Rosanna Schiaffino), her friend …

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“The most beautiful day in my life” – Rediscovering ‘…ing’ (South Korea 2003 – 104 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - Jul 14, 2014
“The most beautiful day in my life” – Rediscovering  ‘…ing’  (South Korea  2003 – 104 mins)

Moving, without being overly sentimental, the rather cryptically titled drama ‘…ing’, is another of those beautiful life-affirming movies that South Korea seems to be so good at making.

Living with a genetic disease, young Min-ah has been in and out of hospital for most of her life. With a deformed hand and terminal illness, she lives an orderly existence with her mother, knowing that each day is precious to them both. When a brash young man moves into the apartment downstairs, and begins showing an interest in her, Min-ah is slowly brought out of her shell, but reluctant to further this …

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Hollywood’s Heroic Heavy – Remembering Neville Brand (1920 – 1992)

Posted in Remember by - Jul 11, 2014

Tough and uncompromising, former military hero Neville Brand brought his hard, threatening manner to a number of westerns, prison flicks and other cult movies. With his gruff voice and intimidating stare, it’s easy to see why he was so often cast in villainous roles, yet he could also be sympathetic and gentle when called for.

Born in Iowa on August 13th, 1920, Brand spent the years 1939 to 1945 in the US Army, where his heroic actions earned him both the Silver Star and Purple Heart. After studying drama, he made his feature debut in the 1950 noir …

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From Beyond the Grave – Rediscovering ‘Next of Kin’ (Australia/New Zealand 1982 – 89 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - Jul 09, 2014

An eerie slow-burner from Down Under; ‘Next of Kin’ is a wonderfully creepy thriller, filled with thunderstorms and mysterious goings-on. While it’s not your average 80′s horror flick, and also rather slow paced, it does deserve a wider audience for its interesting story line and memorable finale.

After she inherits the Montclare Retirement Home from her deceased mother, Linda Stevens appears to be the target of an unknown stalker. Also, some of the elderly residents are going missing and later turning up dead. The answers to these mysterious happenings appear to come from her mother’s diary that Linda stumbles upon, which …

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Sins of the Father – Rediscovering ‘Los Sin Nombre’ (Spain 1999 – 102 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - Jul 07, 2014

Also known as ‘The Nameless’, the gripping 1999 Spanish horror ‘Los Sin Nombre’, is a dark and disturbing tale of family bereavement and sacrificial cults. It also features one of the most jaw-dropping final scenes of any movie I’ve seen.

Five years after her missing daughter’s mutilated body was found, her mother Claudia (Emma Vilarasau), receives a strange phone call from someone claiming to be Ángela, her dead daughter. The voice is asking for help, saying that “they” are going to kill her if Claudia doesn’t rescue her. Other clues begin turning up suggesting that Ángela is indeed still alive. With …

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The Counterfeit Codger – Rediscovering ‘Mister 880’ (US 1950 – 90 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - Jul 04, 2014

A quaint light comedy based on a real-life incident, ‘Mister 880’ tells the engaging story of an elderly amateur counterfeiter, who has been making and distributing poorly made one dollar bills in his neighborhood for ten years, making it the bureau’s longest unsolved case.

Secret Service agent Steve Buchanan (Burt Lancaster) is brought in from Los Angeles and assigned to the frustrating New York case of a counterfeiter who is passing phony one dollar bills throughout the area. Although the bills are of bad quality, they have so far remained undetected. When one of these bills is seen being passed …

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In a Class of Her Own – Remembering Joan Hackett (1934 – 1983)

Posted in Remember by - Jul 02, 2014

A perfectionist capable of playing anything from snooty socialites to nervy housewives, Joan Hackett had an interesting and varied screen career before her untimely death at just 49. A fine, one-of-a-kind dramatic actress, Joan appeared in some award-winning pictures, memorable TV thrillers, and the occasional comedy.

Born in New York on March 1st 1934, Joan began on Broadway before making her movie debut in Sidney Lumet’s engaging soap opera ‘The Group’ (’66). Playing the nervous and insecure Dottie alongside such burgeoning talents; Joanna Pettet, Shirley Knight and Elizabeth Hartman, Joan more than held her own, giving one of the films best …

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From In-Laws to Outlaws – Rediscovering ‘Crazy Mama’ (US 1975 – 82 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - Jul 01, 2014

A cheerful Roger Corman production with less emphasis on sex and violence, ‘Crazy Mama’ is a fun, red-neck road movie, with a talented ensemble bringing to life some lovable, oddball characters. It’s a bit sloppy at times but the robust cast help keep the zany story moving along nicely.

After losing her beloved beauty shop to the authorities, sassy single mother Melba Stokes (Cloris Leachman), along with her pregnant teenage daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl), and slot-machine loving mom Sheba (Ann Sothern), head for Las Vegas in a stolen convertible. Picking up spotty biker; Snake (Leachman’s real-life son; Bryan Englund) and a …

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